Spring is arguably the best time of the year; flowers are blooming, the sunshine is returning, and baseball season begins. Linn-Benton’s baseball team has been busy these past couple weeks, playing a total of 17 games, including four in league play.
Currently the Roadrunners are 13-5 overall in the win-loss column and 3-1 in league play. The team played a doubleheader at home against Clackamas on Saturday, April 1 and won the first game 13-3 but fell in the second game 1-0.
“Weather has been the biggest obstacle this season,” said Head Coach Ryan Gipson. “We’ve had little time outside on the field for practice, and have had multiple games cancelled or dates changed.”
One example of a rescheduled game occurred on March 31, where LBCC was scheduled to play Clackamas. The game was moved to April 2, and was hosted by Clackamas this time. The Roadrunners were able to pick up a win in both games, winning the first game 6-3 and the second game 5-2.
The team has started off pretty well, as shown by their fairly impressive overall record so far. LB is in a three-way tie with Clark and Lane for first in the Southern region of the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC). It should be a tight race throughout the season, as the rest of the teams in the conference are struggling a bit right now.
Lead players include Caleb Smith, with an impressive batting average of .365 after the doubleheader against Clackamas, and Josh Congdon, who is averaging .345. Starting pitcher Logan Hatley has a 4-0 record, as well as an ERA of 3.03, which stands for earned run average.
“Our pitching staff has been our strength early on,” said Gipson. “Our offense is starting to find its identity and has shown glimpses of being very productive. Our overall defense, infield play, and outfield play, is lacking right now and that can be credited to lack of reps outside.”
LBCC hosted the Linfield JV team on Tuesday, April 4 and was able to pick up the win 9-3. The Roadrunners scored three runs in the fifth inning, giving them momentum after a slow start.
The team will travel to Coos Bay on Friday, April 7 to play a doubleheader against Southwestern Oregon Community College (SWOCC) if the weather allows. SWOCC currently is sitting at the bottom of the Southern region of the NWAC, with a record of 1-3 in league and 4-16 overall.
Story by Nick Fields
Photos by Elliot Pond